Once again, the country is learning about how the federal government has been exceeding its legal authority and violating Americans’ most basic rights in the name of fighting terrorism.
In a disturbing article in The Times on Wednesday, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau said that Congressional investigations suggest that the National Security Agency continues to routinely collect Americans’ telephone calls and e-mail messages — perhaps by the millions.
These sweeps seem unconnected to specific terrorism investigations, and the communications are entirely domestic. The law does not allow fishing trips through Americans’ communications and only permits the government to read e-mails or listen to phone calls in which one party is “reasonably believed” to be outside the United States.The government offered its usual response: Oops. A spokesman for the intelligence community said any “overcollection” was inadvertent and “when such errors are identified,” they are quickly corrected.